While it’s sad saying goodbye to summer, many people’s favourite season is autumn, as we get to enjoy crisp blue skies, the multi-coloured leaves and a return to cosy clothes and all the new season fashion launches.
So pull on your walking boots and get out into the fresh air as we work our way through some of the world’s most brilliant destinations for Mother Nature’s magical technicolour show.
It might not be the first place you think of but Nara in Japan hosts a shower of colours every time autumn arrives, when kouyou, or autumn leaves, flood the trees. The season works north to south, starting in the northern island of Hokkaido and spreads south from the end of September.
For the best displays, head for the ancient capital of Nara, not far from Kytoto. This huge park is filled with colour and you’ll get to enjoy amazing views of all the golds and reds along the pathways in this incredibly beautiful spot.
Canada’s east coast is famous for its flurry of colour around autumn time – and while Toronto’s High Park is one of the best places to see them, the Laurentian Mountains around Montreal are something else. The colours here are so vibrant you’d think someone spray-canned the leaves with golds and yellows. The weather will be crisp, the leaves crunchy and the food in the French-centric region is superb (don’t miss their huge warming café lattes, served in small bowls!)
The Forest of Dean, England
Once a hunting ground for royals, this is the perfect place for autumn “leaves” – make a weekend of it and spend a couple of nights in the area so you can really enjoy the local pubs, walks and villages. The forest is a frenzy of sweet chestnut, beech and oak trees and here’s an interesting fact: the trees were used to make battle ships in Tudor times.
Staying close to home, you’ll be spoilt for choice if you head to Scotland. One of the best spots is Pitlochry because of its amazing Enchanted Forest nights. From Friday 2 October through until Sunday 1 November, you can join this magical spectacle, but you’ll probably need to get tickets first so if you’ve booked a timeshare break already, anywhere near by, earmark this for a must-see evening outing.
Using the forest as a natural backdrop, the light show is incredible and it’s all set to a soundtrack, which makes it one of Scotland’s premier sound and light experiences, along with New Year’s Eve in Edinburgh and the Edinburgh Tattoo. The actual setting for Enchanted Forest nights is Faskally Wood near Pitlochry – Google it and you’ll agree, it’s magical!
The Loire Valley, France
A good excuse for a last minute wine-tasting holiday, now’s a good time to drive down to the Loire Valley. Most of the summer crowds are back to school and the rolling vineyards are stunning as the verdant vineyards take on the gentle golden shades of autumn. There are so many vineyards in this region, so study the map, take your pick and enjoy some fine wine-tasting against a backdrop of golds, russets and reds.